Guest Blog: Salsa through Social Media
A guest post by: Meaghan Olsen
Many people walk up to our Latin dance nights, read the word “salsa” on the board and sarcastically ask if there are chips involved. Others see the door propped open and peek in with a curious look on their face, which turns into a smile and then a little shimmy after the music hits their ears (that’s my favorite). The one thing I have never seen, however, is someone who passes by without being forced to acknowledge the energy and passion that pours out from the dance floor onto the downtown sidewalk.
To the Latin dance scene in Columbia I am a relative newcomer, only being active in the community for a little over two years, while many of my salsa friends constantly regale me with stories when they danced at bars long since closed like the Underground or Spanish Fly. The local dance scene has since evolved, expanding into new demographics and gathering a diverse, devoted following—a growth that is in big part accredited to the utilization of social media outlets.
Sure, word of mouth is always going to be the most powerful way for people to hear and get excited about our events, but implementing online tools has taken the local Latin dance community to a whole new level. Facebook has proven to be a great tool for event posts, creating group pages and uploading pictures and videos, while Twitter is used for shorter, status-like updates. Multiple times I come home after a long night of dancing to see that I’ve been “checked in” to salsa night via a friend through Foursquare—prompting conversations of friends from other social spheres to ask what this “salsa thing” is all about. We have even made our way onto YouTube when a couple of local dancers and photographer Ben Hedrick started the video series “The Salsa Dance Hunter”, which at first was just for fun but developed into a tool used to market the exciting and contagious atmosphere of salsa dance nights.
All of the dedication from these local dancers, musicians and salsa enthusiasts has allowed salsa dancing to reach an all-time high in local popularity, and we haven’t stopped there. “Fire-N-Ice Fridays” at The Blue Fugue, a downtown bar located on 9th Street, explodes with energy featuring local DJs and live music from Columbia and the surrounding cities like St. Louis and Kansas City, as well as weekly lessons by the MU Latin Dance Club. Most nights it is so packed that there are people crowded outside, drenched in sweat, just trying to escape the heat of the dance floor. The entertainment rotates between DJs and the local Latin band “La Movida“, which has grown to encompass an enterprise that has become the driving force behind many of the Latin dance events in the community…their Facebook and Twitter feed being the number one place to share information about local Latin dance events.
To learn more about our events and what we are doing in the local Latin dance community, subscribe to La Movida on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/vivalamovida) and follow them on Twitter (@vivaLAMOVIDA).
So come join us at Fire-N-Ice Fridays at The Blue Fugue and be a part of the movement!!! Whether you come for the sexy dancing, the lively music or killer drink specials, make sure you stop by and check us out. The party starts at 10pm–and as always, we promise to save you a dance.